Controlling hypoglycemia with with a healthy, informed diet is a very realistic goal. Although there isn’t as much clear information on the best treatment for the condition, what IS known is that the discrepancies in treatment plans are chiefly attributed to our own individuality. Because our bodies are all unique, individual reactions to foods, activities, medications, drink . . . are all different. So the “do’s” and “don’ts” of your hypoglycemic diet will be slightly different from someone elses. However, with simple education and dietary changes, you’ll be well on your way to living, not just coping, with the condition!
What Is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a medical condition in which the blood sugar level drops significantly because the body perceives itself to be in a fasting state. Once the blood sugar is returned to its normal range, the symptoms resolve. In many cases, normalizing can be achieved with dietary adjustments, but some cases require medication.
Reactive hypoglycemia is a form of low blood sugar that occurs regardless of whether your body is in a fasting state or not. It’s typically associated with people who suffer from diabetes, but can affect non-diabetics.
How Can A Healthy Diet Impact Your Hypoglycemia?
Some foods, drink, medications, and stimulants affect blood sugar much more than others. By making some healthy choices like choosing:
- whole grains
- lean proteins
- lots of vegetables
- low fat dairy
you reduce the fluctuations in your daily blood sugar. In addition, it’s also important to know what your specific triggers are so you can avoid them. The best way to do that is to keep a food log for 10 days to 2 weeks. Note everything that you eat, including snacks, and any positive or negative reactions you have to them. Plan to eliminate or reduce the items that make your blood sugar react.
What Healthy Diet Changes Will Improve My Hypoglycemia?
Although not all the same triggers affect every person with hypoglycemia, there are some common, dietary changes you can make that will help you control and thrive with your condition. Try:
- Eliminating the top offenders: caffeine, tobacco, white flour, and sugar. They all have the greatest universal negative impact on hypoglycemia.
- Eating 6 small meals instead of 3 larger ones each day. It avoids those “fasting” states the body sometimes perceives itself to be engaged in.
- Keeping a blood-sugar leveling snack with you at all times. This typically means a lean protein and/or dairy product. Vegetables are rarely effective and fruits will make the condition worse.
- Eliminating eating fruits, especially dried fruit, on an empty stomach. It will spike your blood sugar levels adversely.
- Being cautious of foods labeled “natural.” They still have natural sugars that will affect your blood sugar just as processed sugars and carbohydrates will.
- Making breakfast a “must” every day–it’s your most important meal.
Sluggish liver function is one of the most common causes of hypoglycemia, but not an essential cause. However, if you have a hypothyroid problem, you could be very susceptible to low blood sugar issues, and should discuss the dietary implications with your physician.